Waiting Only Hurts Their Futures
Dear NH Representative/Senator
On behalf of the 17,000 members of NEA-New Hampshire, I am writing you today to ask you to support the Committee of Conference report on SB 191, increasing funding for those communities that have full day kindergarten.
To be clear, SB 191 as amended by the Committee of Conference, is not perfect. NEA-New Hampshire has always, and will always continue, to advocate that full day kindergarten be funded in full in the same manner as all other grades. However, NEA-NH also recognizes sometimes you have to compromise in the process of getting to your ultimate goal.
SB 191 is just such a compromise. Yes, it does not guarantee full funding of kindergarten, and yes, the funding mechanism is not necessarily the one I would have chosen. But it is also the largest step New Hampshire has ever taken toward fully funding full day kindergarten that has occurred since I began teaching 18 years ago.
The benefits of full-day kindergarten are clear. Those students that attend full-day kindergarten are better prepared to enter first grade, have a higher high school graduation rate and are more likely to go to college. Full day kindergarten is a sound educational investment.
Kindergarten is a magical time in a child’s life. During kindergarten, children learn to get along with each other, they discover the joy and challenge of reading and writing, and they learn what it means to be in school. We know that kindergarten is a key “bridge year” for children—a year for children to move from unstructured play and early learning to the more structured learning environment of formal schooling.
New Hampshire’s current method of kindergarten funding puts an enormous burden on the 70% of New Hampshire municipalities (covering 80% of New Hampshire’s students) that have voluntarily elected to offer full day kindergarten. SB 191 will provide significant tax relief to those towns, and hopefully, encourage the remaining cities and towns to adopt full day kindergarten as well.
NEA-New Hampshire believes that all school districts should offer full day kindergarten. While passage of SB 191 does not accomplish that goal, it certainly puts New Hampshire much, much closer to reaching it than we ever have before.
Please stand with New Hampshire’s students and pass SB 191.
President NEA-New Hampshire